THE secrets of the springs and water features of the Malvern Hills are unlocked in a comprehensive new guide book which has just been published.

Celebrated Springs of the Malvern Hills is the work of Bruce Osborne and Cora Weaver, founders of the Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells.

The two have researched Malvern Water, and published the results, for decades now; in fact their first book on the subject, Springs, Spouts, Fountains and Holy Wells of the Malverns, was published exactly 20 years ago.

That was a slim volume listing 27 springs and wells.

By contrast, Celebrated Springs of the Malvern Hills is a lavish hardback volume printed on high-quality glossy paper which contains details of 130 sites, ranging from grand Victorian monuments to springs bubbling out of the hillsides.

The book is extensively illustrated, with modern and historic photographs.

Historical details are given for each site, telling the reader what they were used for, who, if anyone, built and maintained them, where the water comes from and the problems of contamination.

Many of these water sources provided invaluable supplies to the local community in the days before mains water was piped to every home, and even then, public water fountains were regarded as a boon for passers-by.

The book includes all the water features that are known to everybody.

But part of its value lies in its cataloguing of the obscure and the vanished: who now remembers the Dumpling Fountain in Grange Road?

How many know of the second Holy Well, said to have been visited by St Augustine, near Storridge?

For those who want to get out of their armchairs and take a look for themselves, each site comes with a location description.

The book is being launched tomorrow (Saturday) at the Mount Pleasant Hotel, Belle Vue Terrace, from 10am to 1pm, when the authors will be on hand to sign copies, Celebrated Springs of the Malvern Hills is published in hardback by Phillimore and is available from local bookshops, priced £25.